The Graduating Class files into their assigned seats, resplendent in their caps and gowns. The notes of “Pomp and Circumstance” float on the air.

Valedictorians and Salutatorians give their carefully prepared speeches.

School Administrators voice their pride in the students, and their appreciation for the teachers and the parents. A special Speaker imparts words of wisdom to the audience.

Diplomas are handed out. Caps are thrown high in the air. And everyone celebrates!

Adult-type people, especially parents, teachers, pastors, and friends see Graduation as an opportune time to give advice to the younger generation. Advice that is not wanted, nor heard by the youngsters.

Still, we adults have a time-honored duty to perform, a service to render to the younger folk among us. I do know better than to give advice!

But, here are some words of wisdom, anyway, to the Graduates and to anyone else who will listen:

HARD WORK NEVER HURT ANYBODY! I worked hard for what I have. Nobody handed me anything on a silver platter. I’ve earned what I have through dedication and hard work.

No one should expect to start “at the top,” to have success come too easily or too early. So, work hard; stick with the job until it is finished! Hard work and determination will bring success.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS! We all have our dreams. We hope to be somebody someday. We want to get the best out of life. We talk about our hopes and dreams; we even boast about past successes. There comes a time, however, when our words must be translated into actions.

Thoughts lead to deeds. Deeds produce results. Life will judge us by what we accomplish today! Society will judge us by what we achieve in the here and now! God will judge us on how much we have lived up to our God-given potential!

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD! Outward appearances can deceive us. Many rushed to California in the 1800’s. Most worked day and night to mine the precious gold ore. Many wound up with sacks of yellow ore, only to discover that it was “fool’s gold,” worthless.

Relationships take time; people do not get to know one another instantly. Opportunities for work and leisure develop over a period of time. That great relationship and that good job might just turn out to be “fool’s gold.”

Take the time to make sure that you’re investing your time and energies in something/someone

that/who will be true, and that/who will last!

BETTER TO BE A LITTLE FISH IN A BIG POND THAN TO BE A BIG FISH IN A LITTLE POND! Bigger does not always equate with better! More does not always mean best!

We can’t all be the top players in the league; not many of us are worth a million-dollar salary every year. Sometimes we need to settle for “less” and be content to be that “little fish.”

We do, however, need to be the best “little fish” that we can be, wherever we are and whatever we do!

MOST PEOPLE DO NOT NEED ADVICE! What we all do need most is for others to love us, to accept us just as we are, to forgive us when we fail, to stand by us and encourage us, and to listen patiently to our hopes and dreams!

By Dr. Don Kuehle

(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)

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